I have been trying to post every day in November as a participant in nablopomo, but tonight I had to pick someone up at the airport, and it was after midnight when I got home. I am both sad and relieved. It is much harder posting every day than I initially thought it would be, and at this point in my life, I don't need the extra stress. Maybe next year.
Today was one of those days that I wish I could have stayed in bed and slept through the whole 24 hours. It started with a nose bleed and got progressively worse. Right now, I feel like I am drowning in a cesspool of gloom and doom. They say when your world seems to be falling apart, you should make a gratitude list. So here is mine.
1. I am grateful I didn't murder someone tonight, especially the woman who embarrassed my friend because he said something she didn't agree with. I am also grateful I didn't compliment her on her choice of clothing and tell her how flattering it is for a woman to wear something that was designed for someone thirty years younger and thirty pounds slimmer.
2. I am grateful that my camera broke, because I didn't like it anyway. I am going to Chicago in a few days, and think of all the time I'll save by not taking pictures.
3. I am furious grateful the dog got a plastic container full of my good beads, chewed the lid off, and hundreds of crystal beads fell into the Saint Augustine grass, never to be found again. I won't have to make any more jewelry and can string fruit loops instead, just like the good old days.
4. I am grateful that I have a friend who is on a diet and has lost 20 pounds in thirty days. I am thrilled out of my mind that I get to hear in detail, what she ate at every meal, every day.
5. I am grateful that Notre Dame has the worst team ever this season. Now I can do something else on Saturday instead of wasting my time watching a sport that I love.
6. I am grateful that my jeans were uncomfortably tight tonight. That will serve as a reminder for me not to eat too much on Thanksgiving because I am so disciplined when it comes to food and my weight. After all, there will be another Thanksgiving dinner next year.
7. I am grateful that a check has not arrived from a freelance job. I would have just blown the money on my trip to Chicago.
8. I am grateful that my nose has been bleeding all day, because, think of all the weight I dropped by losing so much blood.
9. I am grateful that I am so stressed and upset that I am unable to eat. Not a great diet, but I'll take it.
10. I am grateful that my bank account is lower than Bush's approval rating, so now I don't have to waste my time Christmas shopping.
My first journal was a pink, one-year diary with a lock and key that I got for Christmas when I was 6. I faithfully wrote in it every night and there was something comforting about putting my thoughts on paper, tucked away in a safe place. It became a daily ritual for me and to this day, journaling is an important part of my life.
Of course, like everything I do, I tend to overdo. I have an art journal, a writing journal, a business journal, a graphic journal, journals, ad infinitum.
I especially enjoy doing the Morning Pages from Julie Cameron's Artist's Way. I can't tell you how important this has become in my life and how therapeutic it is. It is an exercise that consists of writing three pages by hand, with what ever thoughts come to mind. In the beginning it seemed impossible to write that much, but now I find that I actually want to keep on writing beyond the three pages. The idea is to take the random thoughts that are overflowing in your head, and put them down in writing, in no particular sense or order. I find that by the time I am finished, I feel a lot more focused, and a whole lot lighter. Most of the time, answers come to me, and it seems to help me prioritize my day. There is something about purging all your negative thoughts and coming across a solution for what you can do to help yourself. It makes for a brighter day.
When things are getting me down, I like to think back to when I was just a child and the things that I loved.
Snow days. No school and a whole day of getting to play in the snow and drink hot chocolate. I couldn't understand why my mother would cry when they announced a snow day on the radio.
Penny candy. Walking to the neighborhood store and for ten cents, getting 10 pieces of candy in a little brown bag. To this day I feel sorry for the woman who worked behind the counter, and had to put up with me debating which candy to take home, and changing my mind, a million times in the process. She either loved kids, or she was a raging alcoholic who sipped from the bottle all day long.
Catching fireflies during the summer, putting them in jars with holes punched in the lid, and letting them go the next morning. I learned early on, what is extremely attractive at night, looks not so good in the morning light.
Watching cartoons on Saturday morning while my parents slept in. Making my own breakfast which always included sugar.
My father reading me the Sunday funnies, and improvising, which would make me mad, but my mother loved it.
While in grade school, ordering books from Scholastic Book Services and anxiously awaiting for them to arrive. When they finally did come in, it was a surprise, because by then you had forgotten what you ordered.
Going to downtown Pittsburgh and seeing all the department store windows decorated for Christmas.
Knowing when my parents entertained, there would always be chips and dip.
My sister and I getting into our pajamas and going to the drive-in movies with our parents. Going to the playground and snack bar in our pj's along with all the other kids there.
Loving my first dog Belle, more than anything. There's something about your first love.
Last but not least, I still remember the magic of waking up on Christmas morning. It was definitely unlike any other morning.
One of my favorite magazines, is the Martha Stewart publication, body & soul magazine. It's definitely not for everyone, but if you like eating healthy, yoga, alternative medicine, tea, and positive thinking, this one's for you. I usually read in in one sitting, and when I finish, I feel inspired to start living a better life.
My first computer was a Macintosh and because I am a graphic designer, I was convinced that the Macintosh was superior to PC's when it came to anything visual. I have grown up with a MAC, although I have had to use a PC when I worked for the man in various corporations. I have found that my Mac was easier to use and could be fixed without the whole IS department descending upon my office and spending a whole day trying to find a virus/bug/troubleshooting. I on the other hand, could single handily fix my Mac and have it up and running before you could say overtime. I didn't need a 600 page manual to understand it, and I could install software faster than you could say Bill Gates.
I have recently been forced to use a PC and I am beyond frustrated. First of all, my web site looks anemic because the PC doesn't do justice to graphics, and nothing works like it is supposed to. I cannot believe the down time, how many times it crashes and all the notices I receive that I need to install another program. I hate the PC and I wish everyone in the world could use a Mac and see that Bill Gates has everyone drinking the Kool-Aid. Seriously, it may cost more, but you will save you money in the long run, and Mac geeks are a lot more fun than PC geeks.
While I was back East with my sister, I bought this McCall's Magazine from an antique store in Maryland. It is dated March 1968 and the main theme of this issue is Women of the 21st century and projecting what they will be like. As a graphic designer, I love to see how far we have come in the last thirty-two years with the invention of the computer and photoshop, but I also appreciate the way things were. I remember my mother getting this magazine in the mail every month, but I don't recall it being as big as it was. I don't know how it fit in our mailbox. As a little girl, I remember my mother giving me the Betsy McCall cutout page that was in every issue and then after cutting her out, I would design and color my own clothes for her. When I got older, my mother would cut out recipes for me to make, since she was kitchen-adverse.
The article on "Women and the Future" was fascinating to me and I would like to share a few points that stood out. The magazine held a week-end conference in which they invited 17 of the world's thought-and-action leaders including: Norman Cousins (editor of Saturday Review), Stanley Marcus (president of Neiman-Marcus), Elinor Guggenheimer (commissioner of the New York City Planning Committee), Patricia Harris (US Ambassador to Luxenburg), Dr. Franklin Murphy (Chancellor of UCLA) and so on. It was not a group to be taken lightly, quite impressive for McCall's Magazine. Here are some profound predictions from the issue:
1. Society will accept two marriages - one to raise a family, a later one for private fulfillment. 2. Family banking will be done by phone. They talk a lot about phoneovision, a telephone with a screen that would enable you to shop, pay for your purchase by sliding credit card, and doing all of your banking. They had no idea how powerful the computer would be. I think we skipped right past that idea. 3. A child's sex will be predetermined before birth. 4. By 2001 at least half of all the electric-generating capacity in the US will be nuclear. 5. The government will have information on every citizen in a national data bank. That's a stretch! 6. There was a lot of talk of destroying the environment, computers doing everything humans can do, and the electric car. I am extremely disappointed that we don't have the electric robots to do the housework, as they predicted.
The best part was the following:
I think we will find a substantial change in the life pattern of women. There will no longer be a great gap in their employment during the child-rearing years. We can expect a tremendous increase in the number of women in the labor force who have children under the age of six- and with this growth of women in the labor force, you may find a great many more women seeping up into the upper managerial positions. I suspect we are going to have a dramatic change in family patterns in the labor force, in the way women are working. And I think you will find us coming closer to the Russian pattern and Russia perhaps coming a little bit closer to our pattern. - You think?
My personal favorite came from Buckminster Fuller, and I quote - "Woman is now entering the ownership management of commerce and industry to an increasingly important degree. By the twenty-first century she will have taken over full management of spaceship Earth."
Last week I attended a Los Angeles INDesign users group for graphic designers which was held at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. The meeting was sponsored by Adobe and it was to introduce us to the new upgrade for Photoshop and Illustrator. The meeting was informative and the free pizza was a nice touch, but I especially liked walking around my old school, seeing how much it has changed. I hate to date myself, but when I started there, they only had two rooms with Macintosh computers, a total of 15 all together. Now, every room has about 50 big screen Macs, along with everything else you can think of. A lot of the classrooms are sponsored by Intel, Sony, and Sanyo to drop a few names, and some even have sofa's and plasma tv's. It's a lot more high tech than when I went there but still has that oppressive feeling and the student gallery is as competitive as ever. I always get inspired when I visit, and it is overwhelming to see the amount of talent that is abound. I am thankful I am no longer a student, because I know how incredibly challenging it was and remember feeling like a zombie most of the time. It was especially difficult for me, since I was going through a divorce and had two small kids at the time. Most students were many years younger and if I didn't know better, I would have thought I was at a Goth finishing school. Being one of the few who wasn't into the Goth Culture, I stuck out like a sore thumb. Even though my wardrobe does consist mostiy of figure slimming black and because of my coloring, without makeup, I have been know to look dead, I still didn't fit in. I realized that it was so different going back to school as an adult, opposed to when I was age appropriate in college. And I think it all had to do with alcohol.
Things my mother told me that I probably should have paid more attention to:
Take a typing class, because it is a skill that you can always use. Take really, really good care of your teeth, they have to last you a lifetime. If you have good taste, you can shop anywhere. Marry a guy who is handy around the house and who doesn't mind having a sandwich for dinner. You don't have to spend every cent you make. Never pay full price. Wait till it goes on sale. Always send a thank-you note within twenty four hours. Never leave the house looking a mess- it's guaranteed you will run into someone you know. What you meet in a bar, leave in a bar. Spend money on good shoes and be kind to your feet, you'll need them all your life. Don't ever wear yellow. It makes you look sick.(luckily I listened to this one) Spend less time on your hair and makeup and more time on your studies. Looks fade, being shallow doesn't. Once you give birth, you'll never have cramps again. (Wrong) Once you have your own children, you'll understand what I go through. Be careful what you say in a fit of anger. You can never take words back.
I know this pretty remarkable gal Jill that I met in an Artist's Way group, who recently got married and became a step mother to two young boys. I have been following her blog for quite a while and am so impressed with her lust for life and dedication to blogging. She and her husband have arranged meet-ups for Pasadena bloggers (which I haven't attended, but I promise to go to the next one), hold office hours at a local coffee-shop offering help to fellow bloggers and provide an up-to-date itinerary of what is happening around town.
It turns out that she and the Boys' mother have become good friends (they genuinely like each other) and have started a blog called The DHX, that deals with stories, tips and examples of how a mom and step-mom make it work. Since everyone knows I failed Blended Families 101, this site impresses me, but also makes me sad. I wish I could have gotten along with my daughters' step-mom, but it is really hard liking someone who doesn't treat your children the way they deserve to be treated.
I really admire Jill and Kathy for what they have accomplished and for sharing it with the world. I have a few friends that are dealing with stepchildren and it is never easy. I know the boys may never admit it, but they will be thankful for the rest of their lives for the peace and harmony they grew up with as opposed to the acrimony and conflict that is the norm for children of divorce.
I hate going to the post office as much as going to the dentist. I am not kidding. My experience this week has reinforced my theory that the post office is the most annoying place in the world.
Ever since my first daughter started college, I have an annual ritual of making treats to send for Halloween. I think it goes back to when I was in college and my dear aunt sent me home made treats three times a week. I was the envy of everyone in the whole school and my room was the room to go to when you were hungry in the middle of the night - drunk or sober. Anyway, I got up early on Monday morning and made Hello Dolly Bars to send to my daughter and two nieces as a special treat. I searched the house for the right sized boxes, and efficiently wrapped everything, put them in the boxes, printed the addresses and was all set for my adventure. Only problem was, I didn't have my niece Caitlin's address and after numerous attempts to reach her and my sister, I had to abort that package. When I got there, I knew I was in trouble when I saw there were twenty people in line. It wouldn't have been that bad, but there were only two windows open, and I knew it was going to be painfully slow.
To begin with, the girl in front of me and the guy behind me, were simultaneously talking loudly on their cell phones, each in a different language. Annoyance in stereo. Then some man gets to the window, mails a letter for 56 cents and proceeds to put it on his debit card. After much debate as to whether or not you can charge just 56 cents, it did go through. I never realized that the post office had Nordstrom envy, so I was shocked when every person was asked if they were interested in seeing the latest line of stamps. It was almost like "would you like to see some stamps to go with that money order?" Then they would pull out all 50 stamp designs, and the customer would debate which one was the most impressive to accessorize their bills. This is not fricking Nordstrom's you idiots and if they need stamps, they will ask. Don't encourage them. Then there was the guy who was obviously an ebay affiliate, who had twenty little packages to mail to twenty different addresses. All the while ignoring the kiosk in the lobby which was put there to prevent ebay sellers from being strangled. I guess he figured it was too confusing to use, and he would rather annoy fifty people than waste ten minutes of his time figuring it out.l
After twenty wasted minutes of my life, it was finally my turn. I was told that since I had packaged them myself, it would cost me 15 dollars per package. Had I used the free, prioriety mail package, it would only cost $8.75. After much discussion, I decided to put them in the free boxes and save money. By then everyone in line hated me, and I had become one of those annoying people who hold up the line because they ask too many questions and are still clueless. I still don't understand why it is cheaper to send something in a box they provide for free, but I have confidence that the postal system knows what they are doing, and like all government agencies is run efficiently and for the betterment of the American people.
The sad part of all of this, is that I still have to send my niece Caitlin a package. I may just get her an itunes gift card, put it into an envelope and save myself a half an hour of torture.
On Halloween eve at 11:30 pm, I was at Aahs Halloween store in Santa Monica with a friend looking for a Hanna Montana wig for her 7 year old daughter. The store was supposed to close at 10, but they had so many people, that they were thinking of staying open till 2. For someone like me who more than I care to admit, has been known to wait till the last minute, I got a feeling of deja vu. Old habits die hard. We did get the wig and Halloween was a success. She went as dead Hanna Montana.